After investing time and resources into developing a new product or service, you want to ensure that it becomes successful. How that offering is released and who you release it to will have a major impact on its success.
What is a Go-To-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy (GTM) is the process through which a company brings a product or service to market in a way that leads to the offering’s long-term success.
A GTM includes target audience research and identification, marketing and sales strategies, purchasing plans and the pricing strategy. Because every company is different and every product each company sells is different, no two GTMs should be the same. It’s more like a framework that you can apply than a concrete set of steps.
The Components of a Go-To-Market Strategy
Your go-to-market strategy should include every step from when a prospect becomes aware they have a challenge your product or service can solve up through that prospect becoming a fully-fledged customer.
Here are the primary components that every GTM should have:
What are the primary goals of your product? Why does your product matter? Why did you create your product? Who are you selling your product to and how does it solve their challenges? What’s your product’s general value proposition?
When you’re answering these questions, you need to think about the value proposition that will address the biggest challenge. The larger the challenge, the more likely people are to make a change. So, when you first launch your product, you’ll see more success from targeting a small group of prospects who’s day-to-day your product will drastically improve rather than a large group of people for whom your product will merely lessen annoyance for.
For example, a cloud-based CRM like Salesforce can help just about every company stay better connected with their customers and streamline their communications and record-keeping. But, it’ll be a lot easier to sell the value of Salesforce to a company whose sales teams relies on insights from digital interactions to inform their sales process than it is to convince a company that has a one-person sales team that has been effectively using excel spreadsheets to keep track of prospects for the past decade.
Both of those companies can see efficiency increases from adopting a CRM, but having a cloud-based single source of truth will have a much greater positive impact on the daily life of a sales rep who’s process is built on digital micro-interactions and needs to be aligned with the rest of their sales team and their company’s marketing efforts.
When you’re developing a new product, it’s common to believe that there’s nothing else out there like what you’re creating, but that’s rarely the case. Even if there aren’t direct competitors, there are still alternatives.
Your competitors don’t just include similar products to yours, they also include completely different products or services that accomplish the same task or the choice to not accomplish that task at all.
For example, music streaming platform Spotify’s direct competitors are other low-cost music streaming or broadcast solutions like Pandora, YouTube or the radio. But Spotify also competes with music-purchasing methods like CDs or iTunes and with pirating music.
Marketing and sales strategy
What channels can you use to reach your target audience? What types of materials do you plan to use to reach your target audience?
This can range from making commercials for cable television to advertising on social media to writing articles for publications.
Your marketing and sales strategy should include how you will educate your prospects about the problem they’re facing and make them aware of their pain points, how you will introduce potential solutions that can make their life better and how you will tie those concepts to the specific products and services you provide. That all needs to happen in a cohesive manner that aligns with where a prospect is at in the buyer’s journey.
How will your sales team position your product or service?
Sales reps shouldn’t be responsible for developing their sales decks. You should be arming them with all the materials they need to effectively pitch your product or service to prospects so that expectations are set correctly and the presentation hits on prospects' pain points and challenges.
By creating a standardized set of materials for your sales team to leverage, you’re also ensuring consistency between how sales reps position your offering, how your offering was positioned during the marketing process and how your offering will be delivered post-sale.
How is your product or service actually purchased, both in terms of what a closed deal physically looks like and how that purchase process gets kicked off?
Will you be leveraging a freemium model in which users sign up for a free version and then take in-product actions to upgrade to paid? Do you offer an assessment or consultation to determine what services meet a prospect’s needs? Once a prospect is ready to buy, do they just give you their credit card information or is there a contract that has to be signed?
Which pricing strategy do you plan to follow when you launch your product? How does that pricing align with that of your other offerings and with competing products or services?
Your pricing strategy can differentiate you from your competitors and impact how prospects perceive the value your product or service provides. However, if there’s a disconnect between how much you charge and how much value a prospect feels like they’ll receive, they may choose an alternative solution over yours.
Training and documentation on the product or service
If you’re launching a new service, your internal team will need to be trained on how to deliver that service to customers. If you’re releasing a product, your customers need to be enabled to leverage it, and your support team needs to be educated about how to help with common issues. If onboarding is required, you’ll need to map out what that experience will include.
These trainings can be live and in person or pre-recorded video courses. You could use in-product tutorials or a self-service knowledge base. At the end of the day, the best format will depend on the needs of your customers and employees.
Why Are Go-To-Market Strategies Important?
By not taking all of the steps of a go-to-market strategy into account, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
It’s possible to skip some steps and still acquire customers, but that won’t lead to the long-term success of your product or service. The goal of a GTM is not just the deliverability of your offering, but the scalability too. You want to successfully introduce your product into a market and then see it grow and mature.